Assessing the impact of revisions to the EU horizontal food labelling legislation

by Jan Tiessen, Lila Rabinovich, Flavia Tsang, Christian Van Stolk

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The European horizontal food labelling regulation is designed to provide consumers with the necessary information to make informed food choices and to create a competitive single market in the European Union. In recent years, the horizontal food labelling legislation has, however, been increasingly criticised for becoming more and more complex and unclear, making it both difficult for consumers to find and use information and making it complicated and expensive for business to comply with the regulations. Against this background, the European Commission is currently preparing a revision of the European horizontal food labelling legislation and commissioned RAND Europe to conduct an assessment of the economic, social and environmental impacts of different policy options. This report analyses each option, paying particular attention to how these alternatives would affect the strategic goals of the Commission and key stakeholders in this process. The report concludes with a qualitative comparison of the impact of each policy option against the current situation.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    General labelling for foodstuffs: current situation and the need for change

  • Chapter Three

    Stakeholders of horizontal labelling policy

  • Chapter Four

    Determinants of the firm’s labelling costs

  • Chapter Five

    Structure of legislation

  • Chapter Six

    Scope of the legislation

  • Chapter Seven

    Mandatory requirements

  • Chapter Eight

    Legibility of the information

  • Chapter Nine

    Origin labelling

  • Chapter Ten

    Labelling of alcoholic beverages

  • Chapter Eleven

    Comparing the policy options

  • Chapter Twelve

    Monitoring and evaluation

  • Chapter Thirteen


  • Appendix A

    List of interviewees

  • Appendix B

    Survey results

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for the European Commission and conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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